After seeing that bread can cause heart disease, diabetes, and adversely affect genetic expression that we’re only beginning to discover, most of you have probably passed the rolls by this point. But I know that some of you out there are still sneaking in toast with your continental breakfast, or breaking down and ordering a subway sandwich after being clean for a few days.
You’re not alone. Research has pointed to compounds in bread that could be stacking the deck against you being able to quit it for good.
Opiate of the masses?
Marx was wrong, it isn’t religion, it’s bread.
Compounds produced from the digestion of wheat proteins have been shown to have an effect on the way we feel. Research has classified these compounds as exorphins. Like endorphins, those neurotransmitters that flood your brain after a run or getting injured, they have a subtle analgesic and euphoric effect.
Eating muffins, bagels and cake feels good to some people. But on some level their brain might be seeking out another ‘hit’.
What’s worse, due to the consumption of bread by default in western society, most people are addicted to this exorphin without even knowing it. Roughly 30% of people are genetically predisposed to suffer from ‘wheat withdrawal‘. Not unlike someone trying to quit the hard
stuff cold turkey, this is emotionally, physically and mentally stressful.
The smoking gun? Naloxone, a drug used to prevent overdose and relapse for heroin addicts, has been shown to reduce calorie consumption of certain foods. Which foods? You guessed it, wheat and those containing gluten.
The Blood Sugar Rollercoaster and Reward Pathways
I want to keep this brief because this could be said of carbohydrates at large, so here is an infographic to explain it.
Wheat is incredibly high glycemic and produces the same effects as sugar for all intents and purposes. Actually, in many cases it is worse, like white bread which has a HIGHER glycemic index than table sugar. But because it has the perception of being healthy thanks to alphabet agencies like the AHA, it
flies under the radar often.
Quitting wheat is hard. For most people, it’s easier to lay back on what they were taught in grade school, reference whatever diet was on Dr. Oz that week and say that the research wasn’t substantial. Almost none of them know that they are quite literally consuming opiate like compounds.
If we treated it like a drug, people wouldn’t be supportive. Wheat consumption may not have the drama of dying with a needle in your arm, but taking the fastlane towards metabolic derangement and heart disease will kill nonetheless.
Do we need to have these conversations with our friends and family? Personally I would say no. It has all the appeal of having a conversation with an militant vegan about animal cruelty. I think the best way to change is to lead by example. When others see you getting (or staying) in great shape as they operate with low energy, gain weight and get sick, it’s all the proof you’ll need.